Proposal Workshop 2020


Writing Fundable Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Writing Fundable Grants in Sciences & Engineering

PAST PROPOSAL WRITING WORKSHOP VIDEOS!Writing Fundable Grants in the Humanities and Social Sciences; by Dr. Noro Andriamanalina: Video HERE (2019 Spring)Writing Grant Proposals in the Sciences & Engineering; by Dr. Esam El-Fakahany: Video HERE (2019 Spring)

Individual Grants

Career Development

This grant is intended to pay costs associated with the development of graduate student careers. The maximum award is $900. Possible eligible expenses might include travel and fees associated with professional development workshops, learning new techniques essential for your career (e.g. polymerase chain reaction method, “programming for biologists” short course), and travel to internships. Students interested in attending and presenting at conferences should instead apply for the COGS Conference Travel Grant. The award cannot be used to fund research projects.

Conference Travel

This grant is intended for travel to present original work at a conference with a poster, oral presentation, or other acceptable format. Maximum award: $900. The award cannot be used to fund research projects. The work presented must be affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

All grants are reviewed by a volunteer committee of graduate students. Decisions are based on the motions made by the committee. No grant is subject to a decision made by a single person.

Reimbursement Process

Grant recipients will be asked to provide itemized receipts for all of their expenses associated with the grant activity. Upon receiving the receipts and a revised budget form reflecting actual expenses and sources of funding, COGS will disburse funds via PayPal.

Contact Information

For questions about grants in the 2018-2019 academic year, please email Chelsea L. Cervantes de Blois:

For questions about grants in the 2017-2018 academic year, please email


Any student represented by COGS -- all "GRD-designated" and non-professional graduate students on the Twin Cities campus -- is eligible to apply for a COGS grant. You will need a current tuition bill showing the Council of Graduate Students fee assessment or a current registration summary showing Doctoral FTE 8444, Masters FTE 8777, or GRAD 8888.

New update on eligibility

GRAD999 : Students registered for a 999 course are not COGS fee paying students automatically, however, students registered for 999 may volunteer to pay it by emailing

NOTE: If your tuition bill shows that you pay the Professional Student Government fee, you are NOT eligible for COGS grants. Instead, explore PSG grant options:

If you are uncertain whether you are eligible to apply for COGS grants, please email with your inquiry.

Previous grant recipients ARE eligible to apply for COGS grants.

Each student may submit one application from each of the two categories every semester. This means a student can submit a maximum of one conference travel application and one career development travel application. Limit to one conference or career development "activity" per application.

Event Timing

Fall 2019 Grants: events and activities must occur between September 05, 2019, and January 20, 2020.

Spring 2020 Grants: events and activities must occur between January 03, 2020 and May 12, 2020.

Summer 2020 Grants: events and activities must occur between May 13, 2020 and September 04, 2020.

An event (including conference travel) that has already occurred by the time the grant will be reviewed will be considered for a grant for reimbursement on the same basis as an activity that has not yet occurred.


Watch our Training Video with tips on how to complete your application and write effective proposals and budgets!

Training Video: HERE

Spring 2020 Application: for activities occurring January 03rd - May 13th, 2020


It is advisable to complete the application form (word document) and then fill out the google form with the required basic information, and at the end of the short google form, you will be able to upload your application form along with all other application requirements. Please be sure to upload your application materials as one single pdf form and labeled properly with your X500_application (example: cerv0036_application_"need" OR "travel" OR "career".

NOTE** recommendation letters: Instructor your letter writer to save the letter as a pdf and labeled with the student's X500. If you are applying to both grants then inform your adviser to label each recommendation letter as the following: (example: cerv0036_recommendation_career | cerv0036_recommendation_travel).

Summer Applications are due on May 8th, (Friday) 2020, 11.59 PM

Conference Travel Grant Application: Graduate students who are presenting original work at a conference (e.g. posters, oral presentations.)

  • Conference Travel Application form (application form is here)
  • Submit the completed Conference Travel Grant Application: HERE
  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE
  • Maximum amount 900$

Career Development Grant Application: Graduate students who are attending workshops, training, short courses, or traveling to internships for professional development.

  • Career Development Grant Application form (application form is here)
  • Submit the completed Career Development Grant Application: HERE
  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE
  • Maximum amount 900$

(NEW) Need-Based Grant Application:

COGS Need-based Grants offer awards on a competitive basis to graduate students. Grants of up to $250 will be available to graduate students during the academic year. The primary purpose of this specific financial assistance is to support qualified graduate students in the pursuit of their academic careers and the timely completion of their Graduate School degrees. This grant is intended to assist University of Minnesota graduate students with specific financial need in conducting research or participating in academic conferences, workshops, competitions, or seminars. Applicants may only receive one need-based grant per academic year, though they may also apply for other COGS grants. *Note: need-based grants are required to be related to conference/career/academic financial need.

NOTE** for recommenders: The letter writer must be saved as a pdf and labeled with the student's X500

[Need that is outside the academic related pursuits should be addressed to if needing emergency funds]

(example: cerv0036_recommendation_need)

  • Need-Based Grant Application form (application form is here)
  • Submit the completed Need Based Grant Application: HERE
  • Share the following link with your recommender: HERE
  • Maximum amount 250$

Need” is based on the following criteria:

  • Availability of college/department/program/project/adviser funds
  • Availability of research or teaching assistantships to reduce graduate school tuition costs
  • Other special circumstances (e.g., need for childcare to attend conference or professional event; need for disability support that increases cost of professional activity)


The applicant MUST fulfill each of the following requirements to be considered eligible:

  • Current graduate student who pays COGS fee demonstrated financial need (see definition of need above).
  • Good academic standing at the University of Minnesota

Selection Criteria

Applicants’ academic merit and financial need (as previously defined) are evaluated.

  • Statement of financial need
  • Strong, well-written personal statement that explains what the grant funds will be used for
  • One recommendation letter that addresses the applicant's financial need and academic merit
  • Evidence of academic promise via research record, grades, and/or reference letters
  • Official letter from your Department displaying income and academic appointment

Recommendation Letters

Please ask your adviser, DGS, professor, or University of Minnesota supervisor to provide a letter of recommendation in support of your grant application. The recommendation should certify that you are currently enrolled and in good standing, and it should also describe your merits and the merits of your proposed grant activity. Because of the competitive nature of these grants, please select a recommender who will have the time required to write you a strong recommendation.

Your recommender will submit his/her recommendation online. Please share the appropriate link for your particular application with your recommender.

NOTE** for recommenders: The letter writer must be saved as a pdf and labeled with the student's X500. Example of how your recommender should save their letter: cerv0036_recommendation

You may submit your application prior to the letter of recommendation, but your application will not be complete until the recommendation is received. Recommendations are due by the application deadline.

Application Success Rates

NOTE** Upon request, applicants may inquire about reviewer comments on their application.

Fall 2018: 118 applications, 26 awards (some full funding, some partial funding) = 22% of individual grant applicants received some funding

Spring 2019: 67 applications, 21 awards (some full funding, some partial funding) = 31% of individual grant applicants received some funding

Please be advised that the Conference Travel Grants and Career Development Grants are highly competitive. Only the most competitive applications receive funding, and due to limited funds, the funding is often partial.

Grants Review Committee

Members of the Grants Committee review and score applications for the highly competitive COGS grants. The Grants Committee is at the heart of our competitive process for allocating grant funding. Each application is read thoroughly and scored by at least two committee members in the weeks before the working meetings, and the committee as a whole makes awards after discussing the applications. In the unlikely event that we are unable to finish making awards during a working meeting we'll schedule a follow-up meeting.

Good reasons to be on the grants committee:

it's fun and collegiate

it's a good way to build your own grant-writing skills – our review process is designed to reflect a “realistic” model of grant award and review

you get to learn a lot about the research and student activities going on across campus

we get to help people do cool, interesting things

there's free food at our working meetings


After the sign-up deadline each member will receive a document ("how to review grants") that will be informative on how to review a grant. Each member will also be responsible for signing a confidentiality agreement that will be sent out to them in the same email following sign-up deadline.

If anyone feels that they would like an in-person explanation on how to review a grant after going through the "how to" document, don't hesitate to reach out to the director of grants.

Members will then be assigned one or two sets of grants to review. Typically each set is 8 grants. Within a set, each grant is graded from 1-8 (8 being the highest). Review member will be given about a week to complete their reviews.

At the grant review meeting, individuals are responsible for speaking about the grants that they reviewed. Each meeting takes around three hours and food is provided.


Any COGS graduate student is eligible to apply. While committee members will have to recuse themselves from discussing any application where they have a conflict of interest, committee service doesn't make you ineligible to apply for grants.

Interested in Serving on the COGS Grants Committee?

Sign up: HERE

Please sign and submit the Confidentiality Form, HERE

Email Chelsea L. Cervantes de Blois with any questions

Guidelines Subject to Change at Any Time

Rules of the grant program and grant applications are subject to change at any time by the COGS Executive Board. Nothing on this website or in the grant application is intended to bind the COGS Executive Board with one exception: the non-discrimination statement immediately below.

Nondiscrimination Statement

COGS (the Council of Graduate Students) is a student organization at the University of Minnesota. COGS will provide these grants without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

A reference directory for other sources of funding can be found here.

Application Statistics , 2018-2019

For additional information about the previous academic grant applications contact:

This grants page of COGS website is managed by COGS Director of Grants - Chelsea Cervantes.

Please write to her if you have any questions -